Friday, March 29, 2013

Birthday Bash with Light Appetizers and Lace Cookies

Every Wednesday night we have an awesome group of ladies that gets together and quilts or crafts (some knitting, some cross-stitch, some random sewing) and we call ourselves Sisters in Stitches. We like to refer to Wednesday night as "Craft Night". Mike calls it "Bitch 'n' Stitch". Whatever. Same diff. In any case, this last Wednesday we had a little birthday party mixed in with our crafting. Both Gwen and Chana had celebrated birthdays, so we did some light appetizers and wine. Of course.

We had some fresh veggies with homemade hummus (but you will have to hit Kristi up for that recipe!), some cupcakes, and then I made lace cookies (Chana's special request), caprese sticks, and Prosciutto, Brie and Fig Fillo Cups (Kristi's special request). Needless to say, we ate well. So I figured I would share these with you so that you can eat well, too!

Prosciutto, Fig and Brie Cups


This appetizer is very quick and easy to make, and very customizable. I start with the pre-made pastry cups that you can find in the frozen desserts section. I lined a baking tray with foil (for easy clean-up) and spaced the pastry cups.


I took a package of prosciutto and cut up the meat into 1-inch slices and stacked them in the cups. I used 1 per cup.


Then I chopped some dried figs into quarters and put a quarter in each pastry cup.



Seriously... doesn't that look good?



Then I cut some brie cheese into small chunks and put a chunk into each pastry cup.


Then I put them under the broiler for about 3-4 minutes, just until the cheese gets gooey. The cups get a little golden brown, but they stay light and crispy.

There are all sorts of ways to customize this. You can use caramelized onions instead of the prosciutto, green apples instead of the figs, and phyllo sheets instead of the cups. If you use the sheets, or even puff pastry sheets, you will need to bake it for around 10 minutes or so at about 350 degrees, instead of under the broiler.

Caprese Sticks

Okay, these appetizers I just love because they are easy to assemble and look really pretty!


See?  Oh so pretty!


To make these, I use cherry or grape tomatoes, fresh basil, mozzarella fresca (those little pre-formed mozzarella balls you can buy in the cheese section), balsamic vinegar, and toothpicks, or short skewers.



Each toothpick gets half a tomato, a fresh basil leaf, and then half a ball of mozzarella, sandwiched together.


Once they are all assembled and plated, I drizzle with a touch of balsamic vinegar and they are ready to go!

And last, but not least, the recipe for the Lace Cookies.

Lace Cookies

2 Eggs, lightly beaten
3 Sticks of Butter
3 Cups of Oats (not instant!)
1 1/2 Tbsp. Flour
1 3/4 Cups Sugar
Dash of Salt
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
1 tsp. Almond Extract

In a heavy saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. While the butter is melting, lightly beat the eggs in a separate bowl and then set aside.


Once the butter is melted, mix in the oatmeal, flour, sugar, salt, vanilla and almond. Once they are fully incorporated and the melted butter has cooled a bit, stir in the beaten eggs.


Drop the batter by Tbsp. onto a baking sheet. I LOVE my Silpat for these cookies, but if you do not have one, I recommend using parchment paper on a baking sheet. Once you have placed them on the sheet, use the back of the spoon to shape them into circles.





Bake them in a 325 degree oven for about 13-15 minutes, until they are a little firm and lightly golden around the edges. Let them cool for about 10 minutes on the baking sheet. Then transfer them to a plate. They are very fragile and lacy (hence the name!), so they don't travel well, but they are amazingly delicious.


I hope you enjoy! I know I did...